DRTV For Dummies

In recent years television advertising has gone through a transformation. This is due, mostly, to the rise of different types of advertising on a multitude of platforms, whether it’s the internet, radio, newspapers and magazines or, of course, television.


One of the most effective ways of making a television advertisement stand out from the rest and provoke a response from the consumer is through Direct Response Television, or DRTV.

DRTV Basics

The basic principle of DRTV is that they are adverts that are specifically designed to encourage the viewer to actively respond to the company’s product or service. One of the most common examples is ‘Go Compare’ insurance comparison adverts. The ad begins with the tempting suggestion that they could potentially save the viewer hundreds of pounds on a certain type of insurance – the ad directs them to the company’s website so any curious customers can check out the specifics.

DRTV Benefits

There are many benefits to both the companies that advertise in this way and the viewers and potential consumers. Companies now have a way of drawing people towards their product or service by not revealing the whole picture – this encourages them to find out more about what’s on offer. This feature is particularly beneficial to internet companies, especially if they operate on a pay per click basis.

Customer Advantages  

Viewers, on the other hand, can enjoy the luxury of finding out more about a product or service before being committed to a purchase. They can also get to know how services can be shaped to their own needs, a huge benefit that affects purchases from car insurance to custom-made birthday cards.

A Matter Of Choice

This form of advertising also allows customers to explore what different companies have to offer when it comes to a single product or service. This works in the favour of the consumer, the company and the economy.

First and foremost the consumer can assess the range of companies offering the same product or service, explore each one in as much depth as they like and make a well informed decision on what suits their needs best. The companies can judge what people like and tailor their product or service accordingly. This in turn will promote healthy competition in business, help create more jobs and keep companies up to date and in tune with what consumers want.

A Good Example

One very successful example of how a company has grown as a result of broadcasting DRTV adverts is ‘Protect Your Bubble’. When this insurance company started they had a modest online advertising campaign, but soon realised that a DRTV ad was the way forward.

Space City adapted the characters they already had, the familiarly named ‘Bubble’ and ‘Squeak’, for TV. The ads cleverly promoted the insurance cover for modern products such as smart phones and laptops, giving them an up to date feel and a reassuring practicality along with two memorable characters that have stuck in peoples’ minds.

The company has grown into an easily recognisable brand and is going from strength to strength. This is another advantage of DRTV advertising:  the fact that potential customers can browse the market and make an informed decision means that companies with good ideas and competent delivery of those ideas will flourish quickly. Those with not so good ideas will not generate the same responses. This is another aspect of the market that promotes competition and therefore more choice for consumers.

So next time your insurance is up for renewal or you need to send a unique birthday card, pay attention to the adverts on TV and take the time to explore the companies that invite you in. You are more likely to get a good deal from a company that openly asks you have a look around.


Can you think of any other effective DRTV advertising campaigns, and have you had personal experience with any of them?  Share in the comments.